The Benefits of Patience & Teamwork


I am currently supporting ‘Alice’  in the resolution of parenting and financial issues arising from her separation approximately two years ago. Recently we reviewed her journey, and realized that it is a very good example of the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach to family disputes.

Alice had been in a relationship for about 12 years and had been reluctant to accept the separation after such a long period of shared life. She never wanted to go to court, and hoped that she and the other parent could work things out and move on with dignity into this new phase of their lives. She was conscious that they had a child together and would be connected as parents for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, the other parent had difficulty separating from the child, and could not conceive of being without her for any significant period of time. She made unilateral decisions about what should happen, and when Alice tried to initiate mediation and discuss this with her, she issued an Application for an Intervention Order in the local Magistrates Court.  This had the result of excluding Alice from the family home, cutting her off from the child for many months, and setting them up as opponents rather than co-parents.

Alice was not spending any time with her child, so she had no choice but to issue proceedings in Court for parenting orders. Her partner alleged that she had been the child’s primary carer, and  raised made allegations including family violence and substance abuse against Alice. Alice’s time with the child was limited until the various protective measures had been investigated.

Various experts became involved and this was when Alice’s fortunes turned around.

  • An independent children’s lawyer (ICL) was appointed to provide a focus on the child’s need to have a good ongoing relationship with both parents.
  • A child consultant was appointed to prepare a s11F Report as to the child’s relationship with each parent.
  • A child psychologist was engaged to prepare a detailed Family Report as to the background of the relationship, the family dynamics, the various protective measures alleged, and to make recommendations as to ongoing parenting relationships in the best interests of the child.
  • A psychiatrist undertook a psychiatric assessment of the parents to explore any mental health issues.
  • A psychologist was engaged to work with the parents to explore the possibility of them both being able to co-parent into the future.


As a result of the input from these professionals, Alice has had an equal shared care parenting arrangement for the past 18 months. She is confident that this will continue and there will be clear directions made around the making of important decisions regarding the child, and the need for the child to:

  • Have good ongoing relationships with both of her parents and all other important people in her life;
  • Be protected as far as possible from any conflict and disagreements, or any other psychological or physical harm;
  • Feel that she is supported by both parents in all important parts of her life.

Alice’s situation, like all family settings, is unique. However it was only with support of the various professionals and a team approach that she was able to navigate from a difficult situation, through very stormy seas, to a place where she can feel that her role as a parent is protected and maintained.

To discuss working through your unique family circumstances involving separation and children, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

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